Note to self – Greenland is the one with the ice, Iceland is the one with all the green, but you can see why people get the two mixed up. Now you know that, you’ll be able to see why Iceland is high on the list for many adventures. Even searching for pictures from the country turns up with scenes that belong (or should belong) in a Hollywood blockbuster. The cool thing about this 7-day camping trip is you’ll get to see all the beautiful nature first hand, minus the special effects. The hills of Hvolsvollur, Vatnajokull’s frosty glaciers, the bursting Strokkur Geyser and Reykjavik’s party vibes – they’ll all be up close and personal. You better believe this trip has all the good stuff.
Day 1 - Reykjavik
Hallo! Welcome to Iceland. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm today. Being so far north on the globe, Reykjavik’s daylight can change dramatically between seasons – 4 hours in winter and up to 22 in summer, meaning a lot of time partying or a lot of napping in the sun. Your call! Maybe check out some of the bars with the group once the welcome meeting is over; the nightlife (or late day life?) here is super impressive.
Day 2 - Golden Circle / Hvolsvollur Valley
Jump out of bed and get ready to follow Iceland’s ‘Golden Circle’ for a day of smooth scenic drives. Arrive at Thingvellir National Park and the Parliament Plains. This is the site of Europe's oldest parliament, founded in AD930. If you notice a big ridge of water in the landscape, you’re probably looking at the Silfra fissure, where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates are slowly ripping apart. Check out the Strokkur Geyser in the Geysir area and you might catch it when it blasts water through the air. Finally, swing by the Gullfoss double waterfall on the Hvita River before heading to the Hvolsvollur Valley. On your way to camp for the night, there’s the option to stop at Secret Lagoon for some steamy hot springs – it’s up to you! Once settled in at camp, lend a hand with the Hvollsvollur tree planting project. Since the arrival of the first settlers to Iceland, deforestation has taken place in order to make space for pastures. Overgrazing has then led to soil erosion. With this in mind, the owners of the campsite had the idea to start a tree planting project on their land to contribute to lowering CO2 and counteract soil erosion. Do your bit for the environment and get your hands dirty as you plant your own tree in the surrounding hills.
Day 3 - Thorsmork Valley
Today, disappear into the green and black hills of Thorsmork (Thor’s Valley) by public 4x4 bus, crossing many fast-flowing rivers on your way. This nature reserve is a favourite with walkers and once you see the oases and waterways below, it’ll be pretty obvious why people keep coming back. The rugged and rocky ridges provide dramatic views of the valleys and rivers beneath. The valley is sheltered on both sides by glaciers which gives an otherworldly feel. You will have time to walk among wooded surroundings and perhaps to head uphill to summit of Valahnukur for some magnificent panoramic views from the top, or hike in the canyon of Stakkholtsgja with a ravine waterfall at its end. In the evening, dig into a special barbeque prepared on an open fire. Icelandic locals have a special relationship with hot dogs, and you haven’t really tasted one until you’ve had one of theirs. The choice of meat is up to the group’s preference, but usually you’ll opt for lamb and some delicious hot dogs. You’ll also get the chance to taste some Hakarl – a famous dish made from fermented shark. Don’t knock it ‘til you try it!
Day 4 - South Coast / Gerdi
New day; new destination. En route to our next stop, you’ll get to explore Iceland’s beautiful south coast. After checking out some beautiful waterfalls, you’ll get to see Vik’s Black Sand Beach – lined with sand as dark as the night sky. Seriously weird. Afterwards, see some scenic cliffside views of Dyrholaey, known as ‘the arch with the hole’. It’s a stunning sight, but be careful, as it can get real windy. Head to Gerdi for the evening where you'll set up camp for the night.
Day 5 - South Coast / Jokulsarlon / Gerdi
Feeling like you could tackle Europe’s largest icecap? In that case, embark on an optional walk on Vatnajokull – you don’t really need any special experience to sign up for a glacier walk here, so don’t let the size scare you. Glaciers like Vatnajokull are sadly melting away due to rising global temperatures, so seriously consider this if it is on your bucket list, as it might not be here in a few years’ time. Alternatively, you may want to visit Fjallsarlon: a glacier lake at the southern end of Vatnajokull. If a relaxing morning is on the cards, you could explore the surroundings of the farmstay and head to the Thorbergur Centre. Later head to the famous glacial lagoon of Jokulsarlon where there’s the option of jumping on a boat to sail around the huge icebergs. After exploring this chilly countryside, return to the campsite at Gerdi for the evening.
Day 6 - Solheimasandur / Reykjavik
Now it’s time to get back to Reykjavik! But not before you have visited the crashed plane that still sits on the Solheimasandur Beach to this day, which you’ll get to explore. Now that you’ve seen the natural side of Iceland, arrive back into Reykjavik in the early evening. Your leader will take you around town on a short walking tour, and then it's up to you to explore at your own pace. Maybe go window-shopping for a few souvenirs, or alternatively, there is always the option to knock back a few drinks at one of Reykjavik’s quirky bars with your new friends on the last night of this adventure.
Day 7 - Reykjavik
With no activities included for today, you're free to leave at any time, but that doesn’t mean you have to! Perhaps head to the Blue Lagoon, or otherwise, book yourself in to a Silfra Fissure snorkelling adventure, where you’ll discover this underwater ridge with water visibility of up to 120 metres. If you would like to extend your stay in Reykjavik, we’ll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).